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Winterfest Holiday Lights Tour creatively celebrates the holidays

Normally Council Bluffs has a large winter festival downtown, attracting thousands of people. But the coronavirus pandemic is causing a community to pivot and find a more creative way to enjoy the holidays.
Posted at 6:03 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-11 12:22:48-05

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — The Winterfest Holiday Lights Tour is the community's way of pivoting during the coronavirus pandemic.

The 712 Initiative is an organization that collected the addresses of all the properties and created a map showcasing the lights in town.

"Creating a map of all the holiday lights in town would be a good way for people to safely enjoy something for the holiday season with their families in lieu of not being able to gather in large groups," said Jeff Snow, the Director of Events and Programming for the 712 Initiative.

So far, there are 87 properties listed on the map. Gary Vonweihe is a participant. His family has decorated for 25 years. They do it purely to bring people joy.

"Just put a smile on their face," Vonweihe said.

During this challenging year, Snow hopes families find comfort in the twinkling lights.

"I hope they just get a big smile and excited to see Santa and all of the magic that surrounds Christmas," Snow said.

The tour is a reminder for people to find comfort from our communities, our friends and our neighborhoods.

"That feeling of community can really help people rise up and endure some things that are tough," Snow said.

Here's a link to the map.

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